FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Three weeks after giving up 52 points to Mississippi State in the first half, Arkansas clamped down on the No. 20 Bulldogs and gave up just 51 points for the game as the Razorbacks pulled off a 53-51 upset Saturday.
Arkansas, which won at Vanderbilt on Wednesday, has won consecutive Southeastern Conference games for the first time this year and is 9-16 overall and 4-10 in league play. MSU, which led UA 52-18 at the half of its 84-54 win in Starkville on Feb. 8, is 18-7 and 8-6.
Larry Satchell had season highs of 10 points and four blocked shots, and matched his season high of nine rebounds while helping hold Mario Austin, MSU’s leading scorer (16.8 ppg) and rebounder (8.3 rpg) to just five points and one rebound.
“The team really showed up ready to play today and did the necessary things to win the game,” head coach Stan Heath said. “We cut down on turnovers and had good shot selection. It was a great effort for the whole team. We did a good job of defending Derrick Zimmerman and Mario Austin.”
Even with Austin struggling, MSU led 30-22 at the half and 44-32 with 11:30 to play on Zimmerman’s three-pointer.
Arkansas scored 11 straight, eight by Eric Ferguson, to get within 44-43 with 7:48 left. Timmy Bowers, who led the Bulldogs with 24 points and made six of nine three-pointers, made a layup to give MSU a three-point lead. Michael Ignerski’s three gave Mississippi State a 51-45 lead at the 2:18 mark, but Kendrick Davis drilled a three 14 seconds later.
Following a turnover, Dionisio Gomez, who had eight points on four of seven shooting, hit a jumper to get the Razorbacks within one. After another turnover, Davis drove down the lane with 25 seconds to play and made an off-balanced layup while being fouled. His free throw put Arkansas ahead 53-51, UA’s first lead since 8-6.
MSU got off a couple of shots in the final seconds but Arkansas held on for the win.
Ferguson led the Hogs with 14 points on six of 12 shooting, and added five rebounds and two assists. Davis had nine points and three assists, and Jonathon Modica added eight points and seven rebounds.
“Kendrick Davis hit a huge shot at the end of the game and did a good job of drawing the contact and getting the shot to go down,” Heath said. “He hit a big free throw and is improving his offense and defense. Larry is really improving and helping our team. He is doing what everyone has always said he could not do. He’s cutting down on fouls and playing like a Razorback.”
Ignerski finished with 11 points for the Bulldogs.
Arkansas travels to Auburn for a 7 p.m. non-televised game on Wednesday and closes the regular season at home Saturday with a 2 p.m. non-televised game against Ole Miss.